Published Thursday, 05 September 2013
Friday will see Michael O'Neill's men play host to a Portugal side who are currently ranked seventh in the FIFA world rankings - 102 places above Northern Ireland.
While the Green and White Army are flying high after being boosted by a big win over Russia last month, they do have major injury woes to contend with.
Aaron Hughes and Ryan McGivern have both been ruled out after earlier doubts over their fitness, while Craig Cathcart's knee problem will keep him out of action and Daniel Lafferty remains suspended.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill told UTV: "Where Ronaldo plays on the pitch, you cannot designate anyone in particular to take care of him as it would disrupt your team shape too much, so we will rely on our team's shape and the work rate of the team to obviously make it as difficult as possible for him to do what he is capable of.
"But as I say he is one of many good players in the team so we will be focused not just on him but on the Portuguese team as a whole and we take a lot of confidence from how we played obviously in Porto, certainly from the last game again and the players are well versed in what is expected of them."
It's not just a case of can we get someone to stifle him in that area of the pitch because he will just come to another area to get the ball.
NI captain Steve Davis added: "I think it's just a game to look forward to, it is a great game and there's going to be a buzz about Windsor Park off the back of the last result as well.
"As I said, it is hard to single out one player for them although Ronaldo is one of the best in the world, but they've got a lot of quality in the squad and you can't concentrate too much just on one player."
As well as captain Ronaldo, Portugal also have the strike power of Manchester United's Nani - who has just signed a new five-year deal with his club side.
New United boss David Moyes, whose mother hails from Portrush, praised his player as having "great ability and experience beyond his 26 years".
Nani, who moved to the Manchester side on a £17m deal from Sporting Lisbon, added: "I'm very happy that the new manager has shown this faith in me and I'm looking forward to helping the team compete for more honours this season."
Both Nani and Ronaldo and the rest of their teammates touched down in Belfast on Thursday before training at Windsor Park.
Portugal will play hosts Northern Ireland on Friday evening, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
The local side claimed a surprise 1-1 draw in Porto in the reverse fixture last October.
© UTV News